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Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 — South Asia

After SKS success, More Issues Are on the Horizon

Source: Business Standard

It was merely a coincidence that the year after C K Prahalad's bestseller, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits (2004), that Vikram Akula returned to SKS Microfinance, leaving a consultancy job at McKinsey & Company in Chicago that he took a year earlier. Akula, a Fulbright Scholar researching poverty and a student of arts, had founded SKS Microfinance as a non-profit venture in late 1997 with funding close to $52,000 raised from 357 peop...
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Monday, August 30, 2010 — No Region Specified

A New Alliance for Global Change

Source: Harvard Business Review

We are witnessing a sea change in the way society's problems are solved, work is performed, and businesses grow. Collaborations between corporations and social entrepreneurs can create and expand markets on a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution. These markets will reach everyone, but especially the 4 billion people who are not yet part of the world's formal economy. They will offer new and remarkable products and services in sectors as diverse as education, transportation, ...
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa's Informal Economy Revealed

Source: FastCompany.com

Steve Daniels , the founder of A Better World By Design and co-creator of Maker Faire Rhode Island , just published a book, Making Do , based on his research on informal economies in Africa. The shocker? He just graduated from college this year...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — South Asia

eBay Founder Steps Up India Philanthropy

Source: Wall Street Journal

Omidyar Network , the philanthropic investing firm of eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar, plans to plough as much as $200 million into India in the next five years. The organization's target: businesses and non-profits that can make a "social impact" and improve life for people on the lowest economic rungs. The organization has had boots on the ground in India f...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — South Asia

The Contours of Social Business

Source: LiveMint

I disagree with Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus. This is no small matter. For good reason, Yunus is a living legend among social business types. He pioneered microcredit to the poor at a time when my professor C.K. Prahalad (alas, no longer alive) had not even coined the phrase “bottom of the pyramid”, let alone written the best-selling book about finding fortune there. Yunus belie...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Land Rush Doesn't Have to End in a Poor Deal for Africans

Source: The Guardian

If dodgy emails offering millions in return for your downpayment to repatriate a stranded Nigerian astronaut do not tempt you, then maybe this will appeal to your speculative side. A hectare of fertile African land, a 99-year lease, and all for $1 a year. Think about it: crop prices are soaring, land is appreciating and import-dependent rich nations virtually guarantee you a never-ending export market. It's starting to sound like that Niger...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — No Region Specified

The land rush doesn't have to end in a poor deal for Africans

Source:

If dodgy emails offering millions in return for your downpayment to repatriate a stranded Nigerian astronaut do not tempt you, then maybe this will appeal to your speculative side. A hectare of fertile African land, a 99-year lease, and all for $1 a year. Think about it: crop prices are soaring, land is appreciating and import-dependent rich nations virtually guarantee you a never-ending export market. It's starting to sound like that Niger...
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing Faces Hurdles

Source: Oxford Analytica

Impact investing encapsulates a growing sector of private and public funds that finance for-profit companies focusing on services and products for the poor. It has attracted increasing investor and policymaker interest in recent years, but its development still faces hurdles. Achievements such as those Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2006, and Banco Compartamos, which attained an IPO in ...
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Friday, August 13, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Grassroots Business Fund Expands International Presence to Kenya

Source: PR Log

The Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), whose mission is to build and support high-impact businesses that provide sustainable economic opportunities to millions of people at the base of the economic pyramid, has opened a new office in Kenya as a part of its ongoing global growth strategy. While GBF has been operative across the region for more than two years, the expansion intends to provide greater on-the-ground technical and financial assistance to high-impact businesses in region. ...
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Friday, August 13, 2010 — South Asia

Danone's Cheap Trick

Source: TIME

Groupe Danone is the world's largest yogurtmaker and one of the biggest companies in France, with some $21 billion in sales annually. Yet a tiny factory in Bangladesh from which Danone never expects to earn any money is giving the company a profitable lesson in manufacturing for the developing world - and even some tips for business in the West. The factory, which sits in the northern city of Bogra and ma...
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Friday, August 13, 2010 — South Asia

Indian Rickshaws Pull Ahead

Source: New America Media

Today, "social entrepreneurship" has become an important development to help some of the poorest groups in the world like the rickshaw pullers in India. Colorfully adorned cycle rickshaws have long been a part of India's landscapes. These hardworking yet environmentally friendly rickshaw operators can navigate busy urban streets and rural country roads with the same ease. But they are all but invisible to their passengers as they barely subsist above the poverty level....
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Friday, August 06, 2010 — South Asia

VCs Plan to Invest $53M in Social Biz Over Six Months

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: In the 20-company portfolio of Nexus Venture East, a $320-million venture capital (VC) fund, three businesses stand out. There's Suminter India Organics, which does contract farming for organic produce; D.light Design, which provides solar lighting solutions; and Sohan Lal Commodity Management, which provides grain warehousing facilities in small towns and villages in 12 states. Nexus refers to them as 'impact investments' - businesses where the pursuit of...
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Friday, August 06, 2010 — South Asia

Everest Capital Launches 'Frontier' Hedge Fund

Source: Marketwatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Everest Capital, a $2 billion hedge-fund firm run by Marko Dimitrijevic, has launched a new fund focused on so-called frontier markets such as Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Everest, which has been investing in emerging markets for roughly 20 years, started trading in the "frontier" markets in 2008. By June, the firm had $90 million allocated to its frontier strategy. The money came from the firm and from...
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Friday, August 06, 2010 — No Region Specified

It?s Payback Time: How a Bangladeshi Bank is Growing in the U.S.

Source: Newsweek

Laura Falcon, an Ecuadoran immigrant working as a babysitter in New York, became an entrepreneur by accident. About a year ago, when her uncle back in Ecuador was having hip problems, Falcon sent him some vitamins that seemed to help. She began to think there could be a broader market for the products, which are not widely available in her home country. But she needed a loan to buy them in bulk, and as a person with no credit history she couldn't get on...
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 — No Region Specified

SKS Share Sale Subscribed 13.68 Times

Source: iStock Analyst

Aug. 03--The initial share sale offer from SKS Microfinance Ltd issue received bids for 188 million shares, a subscription of 13.68 times the shares on offer, as investors bought into its growth story. The offer, which opened on Wednesday, was priced between Rs850 and Rs985, with a Rs50 discount for retail investors. ...
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Monday, August 02, 2010 — No Region Specified

Al Hammond Shares the Latest in Bottom-of-the-Pyramid Innovations

Source: FastCompany.com

Al Hammond belongs in the same category with CK Prahalad and Stuart Hart as some of the world's pioneering bottom-of-the-pyramid researchers and strategists, and Hammond has specifically targeted rural connectivity and health care. From the World Resources Institute, where he authored the pivotal research report, ...
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Monday, August 02, 2010 — No Region Specified

Research Finds Change in Rural Consumer Patterns

Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Indian consumers' earning, saving and consumption patterns are rapidly changing. So much so that a recent report by the Centre for Macro Consumer Research (CMCR) of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) predicts that by 2015, incomes of more than 42% rural households will shift from agriculture to non-farm sources like construction, retail, trading et al. "The rural landscape is undergoing a steady but dramatic change. While there is a shift...
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